How to Avoid 10 Common Fees
These 10 common fees can be avoided with a little advance planning
Life is full of fees -- extra charges that you don't necessarily take into account when you plan to pay for a service. When unexpected, they can pose an inconvenience, and it can be frustrating to pay more money on top of what you had budgeted. With a little planning, you might be able to avoid these 10 common fees.
1. Late payment fees
Late payment fees apply to just about any of the bills you're likely to pay, and some are costlier than others. It goes without saying that you should always strive to pay your bills on time, whether it's your electric bill, your cable bill, a credit card payment, or a monthly loan payment. If you make late payments on a continuous basis, these fees can really start to add up.
In the case of a loan or credit card, these fees can prolong the amount of time it takes to get your balance paid off. Excessive late payments can also damage your credit score, making it more difficult and expensive to secure financing in the future.
2. Checked baggage fees
As if air travel weren't expensive enough, you often have to pay extra to have your belongings show up at your destination. There was a time, not all that long ago, that you didn't have to pay to check bags, but those days are over, and now you'll likely pay at least $25 per bag. To avoid this, try to stick to a carry-on if you can travel lightly.
3. Carry-on fees
It is true that you can avoid fees by only taking a carry-on, but that's not to say there aren't carry-on fees as well. Thankfully, this is still free for most airlines, but there are a few that charge. This is something to take into account when you book a flight. Always research what fees are associated with your flight before you buy a ticket.
4. Wi-Fi fees
If you're traveling and require Internet access at your hotel, be sure to book a room that has free Wi-Fi. Otherwise, you may find yourself paying a fee to access the Internet. If you must stay at a hotel that charges for Wi-Fi, look to see if there are public places nearby that offer it for free. The hotel may even offer it in a business center or the lobby, even if it costs extra in the room.
5. Rental car gas fees
If you need to rent a car, beware of several kinds of potential fees. One of the most common is the fee for not returning the vehicle with a full tank of gas. You'll likely be able to buy a full tank of gas up front when you rent the car and have that charge added to your bill, but doing so likely means that you'll be paying a higher price than if you filled it up yourself at a station with a competitive price.1
6. Rental car drop-off fees
As Smarter Travel notes, "An extra fee may be charged if you return your car to a different location than where you picked it up. This fee varies by location and distance. In some instances there is no charge specified, but instead the base rate will be higher than it would for a rental that picks up and drops off in the same location."2
7. ATM fees
If you need to stop at an ATM for cash, you'll be paying a fee -- generally no less than $2.50 per transaction, and often higher -- unless the ATM is affiliated with your bank. Make sure you know which networks you can use without incurring a fee. For example, Nevada State Bank customers can use any of the ATMs within the Zions Bancorporation network without a fee. There's a branch and ATM locator here.
8. Event ticket fees
If you've ever ordered tickets to a sporting event or a concert, you've probably noticed the extra fees charged by the ticket provider. In many cases, you can avoid these fees by simply purchasing the tickets from the box office where the event is to be held. Depending on the location and the time it takes out of your day, it may be worth it to just pay the fee, but if getting to the box office isn't a major inconvenience, you may be able to save a few dollars.
9. Overdraft fees
Overdraft fees occur when you make transactions that exceed the amount of money you have available in your checking account. To avoid these, keep close tabs on your account balance, and never pay more than what you have. Ask your banker about overdraft protection, which can help you avoid an overdraft fee by automatically transferring funds into your checking account from a savings account or a line of credit.
10. Monthly checking account fees
Checking accounts are a convenient way to manage money, but that convenience usually comes with a price, in the form of monthly fees. If you’re currently paying monthly fees for a checking account, ask your banker if there’s a way to avoid the fee -- by maintaining a minimum daily balance, having direct deposits made into the account each month (for example, paychecks or Social Security checks), or qualifying in some other way. If you’re bring charged for receiving paper statements each month, sign up to receive your statements electronically.
While avoiding some of these fees may not seem like a big deal now, the savings can add up to a tidy sum in the long run. Taking a little time to think before you spend can pay off in the future.
1. This Two Cents article explains what to look out for when renting a car.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC